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Busting the Newbie Blues 1st Timer

I totally adore Small Review, both the blogger and the blog, and I was a little miffed that I met her AFTER her Busting the Newbie Blues event was over. Imagine my elation when I discovered that she was jumpstarting the event again this year all throughout the month of January! But, you might be wondering,

What is Busting the Newbie Blues?

In the words of Small Review, this event is designed to:
  • Put new YA book bloggers on the map
  • Increase blogger interaction
  • Start a discussion by sharing our experiences as new bloggers
  • Learn about what it was like for established bloggers when they were newbies

I've decided to answer the questionnaire for Established Bloggers, so here we go:

  1. When did you start your blog? 
  2. I started my blog on October 5, 2010.
  3. Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
  4. I always end up feeling like a newbie, and, frankly, totally clueless, when other bloggers start talking about things I've never heard of before, like services for bloggers or events taking place.
  5. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
  6. I think my absolute biggest challenge would be working through my reading pile. And that rounds off to my most notable mistake, which is piling up my plate higher than I can handle, so to speak. I've taken out way too many library books, requested too many ARCs, have too many bought books I haven't yet read, and that's because I get so... desirous for new releases and the books everyone else is talking about, and before I know it I'm swamped. I'm slowly learning to tone it down, but it's still a work in progress.
  7. What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
  8. My follower count. It's okay. I admitted it and you can too! :P It used to feel pretty sucky, and, if I'm honest, still kind of does sometimes, when you hop onto another blog and see their GINORMOUS follower count and their vast ocean of ARCs. But, I stopped letting it get to me when I realized that, IT'S TRUE, YOUR FOLLOWER COUNT IS NOT EVERYTHING. I've gone on to countless blogs with 10 million gagillion followers but have one or two comments on their posts. I realized I want a loyal and consistent readership more than I do a 10-digit follower count.
  9. What do you find most encouraging?
  10. Basically what I said above. I like making blogging pals, finding cute and silly and happy comments on my blog posts. And I can't tell you how much MORE of a dork I evolve into when, HOLY COW BABIES, an author tweets me back or compliments a review or a publicist/author replies with a resounding yes to an ARC request/event or interview request. Seriously, when you meet the right people, it's like having the best co-workers in the world beside you at the workplace.
  11. If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
    1. "What are you doing?! Don't take out so many!"
    2. "That cool blogger you stalk? Don't be shy, talk to him/her!"
    3. "You don't need all those! Why aren't you putting them back?!"
    4. "That blog has 15,000 x10 followers? Don't sweat it. We'll get there eventually."
    5. "Roll up your sleeves, girl. Blogging is lengthy work."
  12. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
  13. I like that most blogs I read post every day. I like reading blogs on a daily basis, and, I admit, it bothers me when they're gone for more than a couple of days. Because, it's like, WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK? Why did YOU LEAVE ME? So, I've been working hard to maintain a steady posting rate, in case there are more people that think like me :P
  14. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
  15. I don't like it when other bloggers try to bribe you into following their blogs. "I'll follow your blog when you follow mine," that kind of thing. I also don't like it when there's a meme for EVERY post and no reviews or any sort of quality content in sight. I try to keep to only one or two memes a week for this reason.
  16. How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people? 
  17. Honestly, what I did first was read The Story Siren's Blogging Tips. Personally, I think The Story Siren is really excellent at what she does and so I trust her advice. And one of the many things that she suggests is utilizing social networks (like Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.), commenting meaningful things as often as possible on other blogs, and just being active in general around the blogosphere. That means participating in events, blog/giveaway hops, etc. And that's what I've tried to do to the best of my ability.
  18. When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)? 
  19. The very first ARC I received was through a contest hosted by Random Buzzers. ARCs directly after that came from NetGalley. And about a couple months ago, I started branching out and requesting books from publicists and authors.

What about you guys, my fellow book bloggers? Do you have any newbie stories/advice to give?
If you're a newbie, did you think this helped?


Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) said...

Stunning banner for the post!

Everyone loves a good follower count, right? But, like you, I've realized that I'd prefer comments with some substance to them versus a gazillion followers who never actually visit the blog. I don't want invisible people.

Great responses! I agree with you on all counts. :)

Anne said...

Thanks for sharing your questionnaire (mine is here).

I love what you've said about meaningful comments - they just warm up your heart and make you feel understood. :)
I like interacting with other bloggers but especially with authors - it's funny to see that in the end they are just humans like you and me ... *lol*

Nice banner! And Happy New Year.

Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)

April (BooksandWine) said...

I absolutely love your advice about rolling up your sleeves and getting ready for lengthy work. I think that's a true hallmark of dedication and something I like to see in the blogs I read.

ALSO nodding my head at the comments vs. followers thing.

Angie @ Beneath the Jacket said...

First, I don't think I've told you yet how much I love your new blog look. <3

Second, thank you for this post (I shall be participating as well). I also have a habit of making my TBR pile higher than I can read. There are just so many books and too little time! Maybe I should quit my job, that would surely give me more time. ;) It's good to know I'm not the only. And I'm still coming to terms that blogger count isn't everything. Since becoming a blogger I've become so obsessed with numbers!

caroline.taylor078 said...

I don't have a blog and would not even know where to start so I really appreciate the hard work you put into this blog, I can safely say it is one of my faves that I read and I love the fact that you wil strive to post on a daily basis, I know people have lives but I do feel a bit put-off when a blog regularly goes days/weeks with no new posts!

Liz. R said...

Grr I just wrote a really long comment and lost it all! I hate it when that happens. I still feel like a newbie sometimes! I think everyone does at times :P. And I used to be concerned a lot about followers but I've learnt not to worry too much about it anymore - like you said, I'd rather have regular and loyal readers! But the best part of blogging is definitely meeting and talking to people who share the same passion as you - I've met some awesome people through blogging (like you!) :P. Great post :).

Celine said...

Oh my god Asher, your blog is GORGEOUS. I'm a big shade of green jealousy. I wish I was so good with photoshop ):

You have some great advice there, and I agree with pretty much everything. I can totally relate with the ARC overloading. My 2012 resolution will be to get through all those books I bought but have never read.

Thank you for the visit to my blog (:

Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

This just goes to show how big the YA blogging community is. Your blog is beautiful and well done, and I can't believe I did not know about it before now! Well, I need to start making up for lost time. I am going review hunting haha

And I know what you mean about the dork moments when an author tweets. I get the same way, they are like celebrities to me.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words :)

A. Knight said...

Stephanie- EXACTLY. It seems pointless to have all these people on your blog and NO ONE CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE WRITING. Seeing no comments puts me down way more than what's going on with my GFC.

Anne- It's the best thing about blogging, interacting. It's funny because I can be a very sociable person offline, but online I'm more shy. Don't know why that is. But, the past year+ that I've been blogging has really opened me up around the blogosphere. I like having friends WHO GET IT, the book lover's obsession. And thank you <3

April- It's so easy to look at the Big Bloggers and be like yeah, I want to be like them. We're totally going to exchange BFF charm bracelets and run around in circles screaming we love each other. I'm going to read all these books and EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER'S BROTHER is going to love my blog. Fo'. sure. But, I was SO wrong. It's really hard work, but I'm so passionate about books and blogging, I don't mind anymore.

And *high fives* for your agreement.

Angie- Hey, long time no chat! Thanks <33

It's definitely hard to ignore the numbers. And in some cases they do matter. But it isn't everything and it doesn't necessarily tell someone whether you're a good book blogger or not. People just need more time to find out for themselves. Don't give up!

Caroline- Thank you so much! Really, those are the kinds of comments I'm talking about :D But, yeah, I completely get you. I mean, sometimes, even I have to take a breather so I don't burnout, but I try not to give myself more than a one day break for posting.

Liz- I hate it when that happens, too! *scolds comment box* Liz, I consider you one of my best blogging pals. Honestly. And I read your blog ritually, and I think it is MADE OF AWESOME. <33333333

Celine- Thank you! :D It took a lot of practice, but you'll get there too. Your banner is so cute though, so I'd say you're pretty good yourself.

See, I admire you. I should've thought of making that kind of promise to myself :P

Michelle- I feel like I'm saying thank you a lot, but there it is. THANK YOU. I appreciate your stopping by.

Riiight?! It's like having access to the best-made cheesecake in the world. xD

And anytime. I have to visit more often.

roro said...

gr8 list / i dislike bribing as well

Respiring Thoughts said...

Thanks for the awesome advice! I have the same problem with my TBR pile. Last month I had a running list with 400 titles, and I had to force myself to cut it down to 30. But since joining the blog-universe, it's gone up again. SO many books.

I loved all of your answers, by the way!

elena said...

Your responses are so great and personable! I loved your answer for the wisdom question, that's really true and really good advice. The Story Siren's blogging tips have been really helpful and I'm thankful she has that section on her site. I liked reading this a lot, thank you so much!!

Sara (of the Page Sage) said...

I love Random Buzzers! I've gotten so many books through them. (: And I like what you said about having a small and loyal readership vs. a large and apathetic one. That's definitely important! (: (Also, it's cute how you did the advice!)

♥Katrina♥ said...

I'm a new blogger. I agree that I want a loyal and consistent readership more than I do a 10-digit follower count. Check out my Busting The Newbie Blues Post!

Kindred Dreamheart

Logan E. Turner said...

Number 5 in your tips - AMEN! If I had known just how much time and energy it was actually going to consume, I may have never started my blog. Then again, I wouldn't have experienced any of the awesome good fuzzies from working alongside cool people like you. It's a trade off, and so far one that's worth it!